Courses

GER 101 Introduction to German Language and Culture I

This course, part of a yearlong sequence, introduces students to the German language and its cultural contexts. Through a flipped-classroom format, students take control of their learning as they acquire grammatical structures, build vocabulary, and develop their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. GER 101 is offered only in the fall semester. GER 101 is not open to students who have had two or more years of German in secondary school.

GER 102 Introduction to German Language and Culture II

This course, a continuation of GER 101, introduces students to the German language and its cultural contexts. Through a flipped-classroom format, students take control of their learning as they acquire grammatical structures, build vocabulary, and develop their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. GER 102 is offered only in the winter semester. GER 102 is not open to students who have had two or more years of German in secondary school. Prerequisite(s): GER 101.

GER 201 Intermediate German Language and Culture I

Offered in the fall, this course is a continuation of GER 101-102. Students further expand their skills through sustained interactive practice in reading, writing, listening and speaking, as well as their cultural knowledge about the German-speaking countries through wide-ranging, contemporary relevant material. Topics include: divided Germany, Swiss innovation, and environmental concerns and approaches. Open to first-year students who enter with at least two years of German. Prerequisite(s): GER 102.

GER 202 Intermediate German Language and Culture II

This course, offered in the winter semester, is a continuation of GER 201. Students further expand their skills through sustained interactive practice in reading, writing, listening and speaking, as well as their cultural knowledge about the German-speaking countries through wide-ranging, contemporary relevant material. Topics include ethnic and racial diversity in the German-speaking countries, the German media landscape, protest and resistance, and transatlantic relationships and influences. Open to first-year students who enter with at least two years of German. Prerequisite(s): GER 201.

GER 233 Advanced German Language and Introduction to German Studies

A topical course offered in the fall semester and designed to develop linguistic and cultural competency at the advanced level, as well as to introduce students to some of the analytical and interpretative strategies necessary to engage and decode cultural productions originating in the German-speaking world. The course focuses on analysis and critical thinking applied to a variety of written and audiovisual media. Prerequisite(s): GER 202.

GER 252 Tracing the Autobiographical: Personal Narratives in German Literature

The course focuses on autobiographical writings in German literature. Students consider questions about the self-presentation of the authors as narrators of their own stories, the relationship between disclosure and literary invention, and the contested area between truth and fiction in autobiographical forms. They investigate how “life-writing” and “self-writing” can be a literary genre that presents issues such as identity, belonging and Otherness, memory, and trauma. Prerequisite(s): GER 233.

GER 253 Contemporary German Cultures

This project-based course engages students in current issues in the German-speaking countries. The issues may include difficult debates surrounding pluriculturalism, racism, and the legacies of imperialism and authoritarianism, as well as popular culture, such as music, film, or children’s books. Students work in groups to define current trends and place them in a historical context. Prerequisite(s): GER 233.

GER 254 Berlin and Vienna, 1900-1914

From the beginning of the twentieth century to the outbreak of World War I, the capital cities of Berlin and Vienna were home to major political and cultural developments, including diverse movements in art, architecture, literature, and music, as well as the growth of mass party politics. The ascending German Empire and the multiethnic Habsburg Empire teetering on the verge of collapse provide the context within which this course examines well-known and lesser-known texts from the period. Topics include urban growth and its social effects, class and gender anxiety, the role of the military, empire and nationalism, and colonialism at home and abroad. Conducted in English.

GER 256 The Age of Materialism, 1830-1899

The nineteenth century saw the profound transformation of Germany and Austria at all levels of society. The Napoleonic Wars, the failed revolutions of 1848, the ascent of Prussia and the divisions within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the crumbling of feudalism and the emergence of nationalism, scientific advances, and industrialization contributed to the rethinking of political, economic, and social roles, the relationship between the human and the natural worlds, and the nature of reality itself. The course focuses on the investigation of the materiality of the human condition through selected literary, artistic, journalistic, and other texts of the period. Prerequisite(s): GER 233.

GER 262 The Split Screen: Reconstructing National Identities in West and East German Cinema

This course investigates selected works of West and East German cinematic production after 1945. Students engage a broad range of topics and issues that define the popular view of Germany and its culture today. They discuss Germany’s Nazi past, the postwar division of the country and its reunification in 1990, the legacies of the 1968 generation, and the role of minorities in contemporary Germany. The course also provides students with basic tools of film analysis, which are used in the discussion of cinematic art and in the analysis of the specific aesthetic qualities of a film. Conducted in English.

GER 341 Landscapes and Cityscapes in German Media

This course examines the construction of space in a variety of historical and contemporary German media, answering questions such as: What landscapes and cityscapes contribute to a German identity and how? How do geographical location, cultural particularity, and historical context contribute to (sometimes contested) discourses on these spaces? How is the construction of these spaces impacted by the historical diversity of cultures in Central Europe, as well as by modern migration to the area? And how have German speakers conceptualized and colonized “other” spaces in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas? Prerequisite(s): GER 233 and one other 200-level course in German

GER 350 Margins and Migrations

What is German literature? The course examines this question through the lens of writers who are difficult to incorporate into a national narrative. The first part of the course focuses on literatures produced on the margins of the German and Austrian empires in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, while the second part studies the effects of postwar labor migrations and globalization on contemporary German, Austrian, and Swiss literatures. Prerequisite(s): GER 233 and another 200-level course in German. This course may be repeated once for credit.

GER 358 Literature and Film of the German Democratic Republic

This course explores the ways in which literature and film reflect and refract the social and political experiments of the GDR. Topics include the doctrine of Socialist Realism and its (mis)applications, coming to terms with the past, the emergence and problematization of new gender models, youth culture and generational tensions, the role of the individual in socialist society, censorship and artistic experimentation, conformity and resistance, popular culture and the artistic underground, and industrialization and environmental concerns. Attention is given to the sociohistorical contexts of the examined works and the means and ends of literary and cinematic creations of (alternate) realities. Prerequisite(s): GER 233 and another 200-level course in German.

GER 360 Independent Study

Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester.

GER 365 Special Topics

Designed for the small seminar group of students who may have particular interests in areas of study that go beyond the regular course offerings. Periodic conferences and papers are required. Permission of the department is required.

GER 457 Senior Thesis

A capstone project, which may take the form of a written research paper, community-engaged project, translation project, or digital portfolio, designed in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students register for German 457 in the fall semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both German 457 and 458.

GER 458 Senior Thesis

A capstone project, which may take the form of a written research paper, community-engaged project, translation project, or digital portfolio, designed in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students register for German 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both German 457 and 458.

GERS 26 The Split Screen: Reconstructing National Identities in West and East German Cinema

This course investigates selected films from West and East German after 1945. Students engage a broad range of topics and issues that define the popular view of Germany and its cultures today. They discuss Germany’s Nazi past, the postwar division of the country and its reunification in 1990, the legacies of the 1968 generation, and diversity in contemporary Germany. The course also provides students with basic tools of film analysis, which are used in the discussion of cinematic art and in the analysis of the specific aesthetic qualities of a film. Conducted in English.

GERS 27 German Beer: Art, Science, History and Theory of a German Tradition

This course is devoted to the study of Braukunst, the art of brewing, from its earliest origins in Mesopotamia to the most modern mass production. Students examine the production and consumption of beer from cultural, chemical, historical, and economic points of view, considering beer as an agricultural product, a consumer good, a culinary staple, and a cultural artifact. The emphasis is on the German and central European traditions. The practical component of the course include designing and brewing beer, and touring a Maine microbrewery and hops farm. Conducted in English. Students with background in German will have the option to complete selected readings in German. Only open to juniors and seniors.

GERS 50 Independent Study

Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study during a Short Term.